Looking to stretch your travel budget? Steer toward these locales, and you’ll be skiing, bicycling, sleighing, horseback riding, snowshoeing, and wine tasting for a song. Bonus, many of these spots are also great places to escape the crowds and see something new.
In winter, Napa Valley uncorks several temptations for frugal travelers, including lighter crowds, lower hotel prices, and a few deals. Plus, in January and February, the vineyards burst with cheerful yellow mustard flowers. For a wallet-friendly way to tour wine country, rent bikes from Calistoga Bikeshop (from $45 a day), then pedal the flat, quiet roads. For $75, the Winter in the Wineries Passport gives guests complimentary tastings at participating wineries, free corkage at several restaurants, and discounts at Calistoga hotels, spas, and shops.
If it’s sunny, rustle up picnic fare at the Calistoga Farmers’ Market on Saturdays or at Sam’s General Store, where they’ll pack your goodies in a wicker basket. If it’s chilly, simmer in Calistoga’s famous hot springs. Golden Haven Hot Springs offers use of their mineral pools gratis for the hour before and the hour after a booked spa treatment. Alternatively, ResortPass.com sells limited $80 day passes to Dr. Wilkinson’s Backyard Resort & Mineral Springs. Finally, cozy up at Calistoga Wine Way Inn, where you can snag midweek winter rates from $139.